Rights Groups to Gov’t: End Village Evictions

Six local human rights groups released a joint statement Monday calling on the government to stop the forced eviction of villagers in Kampot’s Chhuk district.

The statement also demanded the release of four villagers being held in pretrial detention and the opening up of Chey Sezna village, which was sealed off June 22 by RCAF’s Brigade 31 as the forced eviction of hundreds of families got under way.

“The statement calls on authorities to stop the eviction and find an appropriate solution,” Try Chhuon, Adhoc coordinator for Kampot province, said by phone. “We are ready to help the villagers, but we do not have a green light from the government,” she said.

Kry Ya, 39, an evicted Chey Sez­na villager whose house was re­moved by the military, said by phone Monday that he and his four children had been living in a field for three days. About 60 families are still living in nearby fields and only 10 of them had tarpaulins to shelter under, he said.

Brigade 31 commander Sun Saroeun said Monday that there are four families left in the area and that he wanted to distribute tents to the villagers his forces had evicted.

A request for permission to distribute tarpaulin has been sent to the Provincial Election Committee, which must approve all government donations during the election season, he added. Try Chhuon said the army’s aid offer was a ploy to appease those they had mistreated.

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